Sookram and Persaud are Smirnoff Open golf champions By Lloyda Nicholas
Stabroek News
November 20, 2006

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Marketing Executive of Banks DIH Carlton Joao (right) handing over the championship trophy to 16-year-old Avinash Persaud. (Aubrey Crawford)

Two teenagers swept the Smirnoff Guyana Golf Open two-day championship at the Lusignan Golf Club this weekend with Christine Sookram successfully defending the ladies titles and club caddie Avinash Persaud winning the men's title in his first year of competition.

The 16-year-old Persaud, playing with a zero handicap, came back after a rough first day to score the best gross on day two propelling himself into the number one spot. Avinash Persaud's gross after two days was 153.

The young golfer told Stabroek Sport, "Winning felt really good because I played badly yesterday (Saturday) and I came back fighting today (Sunday)." He said that at one point on the first day he was five shots back and it wasn't easy coming back on the second day.

However, Persaud triumphed and said he believes that driving was the strongest part of his game. He also won the longest drive on day two. In second place for the men was Vijay Deo, playing with a handicap of six and scoring a gross of 155.

Third place went to the captain Patrick Persaud whose gross over the two days was 156 and net score was 142. Defending champion Mike Mangal failed to make the mark after a poor second day of competition Marketing Executive of Banks DIH Carlton Joao (right) handing over the championship trophy to 17-year-old Christine Sookram. (Aubrey Crawford)

On the ladies side of the competition it was all Christine Sookram who scored an overall net of 134. The 17-year-old Sookram scored what she described as her best score yet.

She said, "I feel good and I was really surprised about my score. I am very happy." Sookram said that she felt confident entering the competition despite the challenge from Surinamese entrants.

However, she said that she is not accustomed to playing on the green during the year and this was the most challenging aspect of the game for her.

"The placement was really tight," she said. Sookram who has been playing golf since she was six-year-old has already won a competition in Bar-bados, placed second in Trinidad and scored the best gross in Suriname.

Holding second place for the ladies was Judith Cooper, whose net was 141. The ladies competition attracted eight competitors.

Other prize winning players in the competition were Martin Shortt, Canadian Robin Singh, Ian Gouveia, Ronald Bulkhan and Martin Wolterstorff of Suriname.

The competition featured ten golfers from Suriname, nine contenders from Canada, three from New York and one from Trinidad and Tobago and was sponsored to the tune of $600,000 by Banks DIH.